Finding a Purr-fect Partner: Choosing a Cat

iStock_000073167079_LargeCat lovers know how special the bond between an affectionate feline and her owner can be. There are lovely kitties everywhere. Shelters are brimming with them, rescue organizations bombard you at local events and pet stores, and who can forget the beautiful breeder raised cats you come across. How are you to choose which lucky cat is your next life partner?

Choosing a cat is serious business, and it is important to assess the situation from all angles before welcoming a new furry friend into your home. Follow our guide to be sure that your choice is the purr-fect one.

Assess Your Lifestyle

Not all cats are the same, and not all people have the same type of situations. When choosing a cat, taking into consideration how he or she needs to fit into your situation can help to narrow things down. Think about:

  • How much interaction your pet will get from you
  • Whether you have time to provide extra grooming such as daily brushing
  • If there are children in the home
  • Whether any of your family members have allergies or other medical concerns
  • If your new cat will need to get along with other pets in the home

These types of questions may make you think looking for an older, younger, long haired, short haired, or specific breed of cat might be more up your alley.

Think About Personality

Just like people, individual cats have different personalities. Depending on your needs and wants, you may want a more or less playful cat, a quieter kitty, or a cat who is more independent or more affectionate.

Getting an older cat will allow you to know his or her personality before bringing him or her home. If you choose to get a kitten, it is helpful to familiarize yourself with personality characteristics of some of the more cat breeds:

Bengal – These sleek, spotted beauties are quite social and playful and tend to be good with other household pets.

Domestic short-hair/long-hair – This is what the majority of cats out there tend to be. They come in a variety of looks and are usually friendly and playful.

Maine Coon – These large, beautiful cats tend to be very laidback and easygoing. Some people compare them to dogs in terms of personality. They often fit right into an already full household.

Persian/Himalayan – The long coated beauties are very affectionate and tend to be a little on the quiet side. They do require extensive grooming and shed.

Ragdoll – Ragdolls are large and loving felines with a lot of affection to dole out.  Their calm nature makes them an ideal family cat.

Siamese – These sleek, slender cats are often sweet but very active. They also tend to be very vocal about their opinions.

Sphynx – You can’t miss these hairless felines. Due to their lack of coat they do require some special care. They are usually quite loving and tend to be on the playful side.

Of course there are lots of other great breeds out there, and not all cats read the books when they are born into a specific pedigree. Do your research and think carefully about what type of cat works best for your family.

Choosing a Cat

Now that you have put a little thought into what you are looking for in a cat, you need to determine where to look. Obviously, if you have your heart set on a specific breed, finding a breeder may be your best bet. If you have chosen to adopt, working with a rescue or shelter is your best bet.

If you are visiting a shelter, rescue, or breeding facility, take it all in. Observe the individual cats or kittens and their response to your presence. Interact with a few who strike your fancy and spend a few minutes getting to know them. Pet, hold, and rub him or her and observe the reaction. Does the cat try to bite or swat? Is he or she cautious or confident? You should be able to get an idea of personality in just a few minutes.

Be sure to ask lots of questions. Ask about personality, previous health care, and problems. Don’t be shy, taking home a new cat is a big commitment.

When you adopt a new family member, be sure to bring him or her in within a few days so that we can do a wellness exam and discuss care with you. Establishing a relationship with your pet’s medical care provider is important.

Choosing a cat to fit into your family can be intimidating, but with a little thought you can increase your chances of finding the purr-fect family member. Cat ownership is like none other, and is a great way to experience unconditional love and furry friendship.